Category Archives: 2013

Pig Pickin 2013

We’ve (I?) wanted to roast a full pig for a while now. So, we finally took the plunge and went for it. And for novices, the one thing we learned is that everyone—seriously, everyone—has an opinion about this process. Here is a recap of the less told stories.

Step 1: The Pit: 3x5x3. Find energetic teenager who will do the work for you. Thank you Jacob.

Step 2: Get rocks about the size of your head. They say lava rocks are the best. We got cobble rocks. Yes, they do explode occasionally when they are in the fire, but they work just fine.

How many? Not many actually, but we got ¼ yard. We’ll use the left overs for some kind of yard thing.

Step 3: Pig prep the day before. Must have the marinade party.

Step 4: Day of the roast, start fire to make 1 foot of hot coals. Starting fire about 4 – 5 am will get you there by 8am.

Note: Fire is a bit challenging to start at bottom of pit since the air is thin. Be patient.

Step 5: Prep pig. With choice of herbs and spices.

Step 6: Be ready with prep area: chicken wire on bottom, then wet burlap, then banna leaves, then pig and then roll up like a tortilla.

NOTE: Double layer the leaves/burlap on side that will be on coals/hot rocks

Loop wire on edges of pig packet so that you can pull out pig easily.

Thermometer: good idea, but not really needed. Cook it long and low.

Rocks in the cavity? Not needed for small pig.

Step 7: Wait 8 ish hours. Meanwhile, enjoy the day.

Possible ideas: Take nap. Color your daughter’s hair purple. Get ice for drinks. Pull weeds. Etc.

About 8 hours later: Remove dirt and pull out the pig package.

Step 8: Pick and eat.

Step 9: Oh, and drink.

Recap and Summary for the next Lewis and Clarks:

Pig – order 1-2 weeks out

Butchers matter.

Shop around for price and partnership.

We used:

Great service.

Pig size

Anything under 40 pounds is same price. 40 pounds was plenty for 20 people and good place to start for first time.


Size of head rocks or lava rock.

We got ¼ yard coble rock.


¼ cord, seriously dry wood

Good kindling. Get this ready day before. Try not to chop wood at 4 am.


Lowes / Home Depot in garden supply

Soak in water overnight. Smells like a barn.

Banana leaves

Uwajimaya in freezer section

We used 6. Get 12 so that you can pack it heavier between coals and pig.

Note: Have Chinese friend wash the leaves for you night before during marinade party.


Used variation of this


Salt with 5 spice

Friends & Family

Best part.


So as the day ended, one of our friends remarked: check one off of the bucket list.

I agree. On to the next adventure.



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Posted by on June 30, 2013 in 2013


Greg’s Bday 2013 – Hurricane Ridge et al.


We headed to Port Angeles on a Friday after work. We took the Seattle to Bremerton ferry. It was warm and sunny and together with the ferry ride, it really makes us relax.


We got to Bremerton and stopped at the local pub right at the ferry doc. Bremerton is really quite nice.

We usually go to Port Angeles as a quick stop to Canada.And, this time wasn’t much different. Gateway to Hurricane Ridge.

Breakfast to start the day, then off to the road less traveled.





For folks like me, who don’t get to the mountains much, Hurricane Ridge is beautiful in June.





This birdy was so cute and brave.

And, the deer were comletely unafraid. So beautiful.


After the Ridge, we checked out the Dungeness Spit. I never even knew what a spit was till this day. Well worth the $3 entrance fee J

Here’s to a Happy Bday! xo







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Posted by on June 15, 2013 in 2013


May Madness – Random 2013

May was really full, although we basically stayed around the homestead.

On Mother’s day, Greg and I “ran” the Kirkland Half Marathon. And that concludes my running days! We were officially in the “shuffler” group, but then formed our own “slacker” group. We did win that division!

Once again our friends, Kevin and Karol treated us to a fun evening, where we met them in their houseboat on Lake Union. (I think that’s where we were J )

We were told: go to the mosaic, then head down the stairs….

SO, here’s the mosaic. I do believe we need one at Dragon Place!

Enjoying a wine (or tequila) with cheese and crackers on the deck.



What a lifestyle these people have! Worlds away from the chaos of Redmond or 405. I do believe we need a houseboat. Anyone want to share?


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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in 2013


Jordan’s Bday 2013


Jordan’s Bday month this year was, according to Jordan, “interesting.”

On one rare occasion, where Jordan was the only kid at home, we took Jordan to the Celtic Bayou. Basically, this is a bar. Apparently, she liked it.

Jordan also went to camp this year. Here she is all packed up and ready to go. I think she liked camp. Perhaps some day she’ll blog about it (hint hint)


Jordan came home from camp on her birthday. The next day, we went on the Duck and toured Seattle. What a great tour of the city and the weather was awesome!




Then, later that weekend, we went to Tokyo, and had a “fun time.” (Quotes, compliments of Jordan)

And, since Jordan’s bro had wanted to name her “flower” when she was born, we made her a flower cake.

Happy Birthday, Jordan!



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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in 2013


Portland – Inga’s Bday – 2013


For my birthday this year, Greg treated us to a Portland excursion. We left Tacoma on the Amtrak.

I’m thinking, the train has to be the best way to travel from Seattle to Portland. It’s so relaxing and smooth. Dining cart is decent. Plenty of legroom. Very laid-back.

We arrived in Portland and, unlike our last trip here, the weather was a great-> A perfect spring day in the Pacific Northwest. After dropping off our luggage, we spent the day exploring the University and Downtown districts, and along the waterfront. We walked at least 5 miles, probably more.

Then, we jumped onto our Segway tour. What a blast. Two hours, screaming-fast to see parts of the city we would never have been able to explore on foot alone.


The following picture is the world’s smallest park. Yes, right there in the middle of the street. So funny.

This pathway is on the other side of the river from Portland.

One of the unique things about Portland’s eating scene are these little truck carts all over the place. I’ve heard they are good, but we’ve not yet bought anything more than a Corona and an elephant ear. Maybe next time, we’ll try some unique Thai, Indian, or Greek treat.

After Segway, we headed to Jake’s and had delicious seafood. It was the perfect way to end the perfect day.

On Sunday we ventured to the Saturday Market (yes, Saturday market is open on Sundays)… So many vendors, live music, food carts and so much fun.

By the way, did see that Rogue now makes Vodoo Donuts beer (Maple bacon beer). No, we didn’t try one. It’s in a Pepto-colored bottle. Something just doesn’t sound or look apetizing.

The city has these water fountains, running all the time. Natural spring water pumped in.


We saw teenagers skateboarding and loitering. We also saw lots of folks with spiked black hair, guys with big guage earrings, and hand-in-hand gays and lesbians all over. There were cyclists, roller bladers, and joggers (and Segways J ). Portland seems to be a bit dressier than Seattle. Women everywhere were wearing dresses and spike heels and guys in sports jackets (Where are the Ugs, Merels, and fleece?). We saw a very dirty homeless guy, with giant beer gut, wearing a Columbia jacket….. just seems like anything goes here.

In retrospect: Portland also seems to have a lot of street people (of all ages and both genders), who sleep in the parks and on the sidewalks, all hours of the day. Perhaps the fresh flowing water and the random city toilets around the city are reasons why there are so many homeless people. Not sure. It’s sad.

On the flip side, Portland is clean, public transportation is accessible, and the seafood is super-fresh. And, despite all the different types of people, Portland is very quiet, just the random tram buzz every now and again.

Oh, yes, and I’m told to remind Greg: Portland is a beer city. Do not order a Manhattan in Portland J.

Thanks, Greg and Portland, for a great birthday! We’ll be back. J


Here’s our fun places

Westin Portland

Centrally located, about 15 min walk from train station. Nice breakfast.

Jakes Famous Crawfish

Fresh, fresh fish!

Sit at back bar for a cozy treat

Portland’s Saturday Market

Great people watching

Local artists


Segway in Portland

Casual and fun tour guide















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Posted by on April 21, 2013 in 2013


Friday Harbor 2013


For our first year anniversary, we headed back to the Tucker House at Friday Harbor. Since I didn’t post blog last year when we got married, I thought I’d start there.

On March 10, 2012, we got married at the Tucker House in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The ceremony was at 8am and it was just the two of us and the minister. By 8:30, we were sitting down for breakfast, and it was so delicious: Fresh bread, home made granola with Greek yogurt. So good. Then, we headed to the other side of the island and stayed at Roach Harbor for the night. In March, both sides of San Jaun island are pretty quiet and very romantic. It’s one of the few places where we both check out of the hectic grind and unplug.


We (I?) shared oysters with a couple local guys at the bar. Really amazing and fresh!

Roach Harbor: March 11, 2012

So, when Greg suggested we come back to Friday Harbor for our anniversary, there wasn’t really any doubt! We arrived late Friday night to complimentary champagne and home made short bread.


And, even though this is our third visit to San Juan. Island, we hadn’t really stayed long enough in Friday Harbor to explore. This year, we had all day Saturday and lucky for us, this year, we had great weather so we could explore the town in style. I think we hit every shop in town. The water is crystal clear, the people are super-friendly, and the vibe is almost like Key West. Well, not really, but it is really laid back!

And for our afternoon snack we had the best bluecheese burger, ever. This liitle pub, whose name escapes me, had the quaintest bar, I felt like we were back in Belguim.


Here’s to a wonderful anniversary weekend.

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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in 2013


Island 2013 (Iceland)

Getting Started

We started our adventure in our favorite coffee shop in Kirkland – St. James.

Then, we headed to the airport for the 8 hour evening flight from Seattle.

With no sleep, we headed into town.

Hjónabandssӕla, and Dining, and Biers, Oh My.

As always, our journey seemed to center around food and drinks. Here is a brief recap.

On the plane, we experienced Happy Wedding Cake (the word above), which is a hearty not-too-sweet figgie bread/cake. Oh, yes, and sampled the Icelandic Vodka

We visited two really delicious restaurants, both off the beaten path.

Smoked Puffin with a side of sweet mustard was really tasty. Not at all gamey and the texture was almost as smooth as a tuna sashimi. Highly recommend. I’ll pretend Puffins are not endangered.

Another night, had gratin Lobster/Monkfish (lobster is about the size of a shrimp but more tender) and a fish hash, made with potatoes, cod, and a cheese sauce. Both were really hearty.

Fish soup and mussles/calamari were really excellent.

Skyr with berry sauce, recommended by my good friend L-M (who happens to be married to a real Viking

Skyr – oh so nice! I will for sure figure out how to make this one at home.

And, Apple cake with a light caramel sauce and vanilla icecream. Yum


And, we of course had to have story about Bier! Iceland is not Belgium, but we found some decent local ones on taps.

Here is a recap of the sampling adventure

Viking C

Black Death C

Tuborg CC

Gull CC

Tuborg PilsnerC

Tuborg – Red CC


Manhattan – so good had to eat the cherry too!

Vacation cappacino – love to the last drop


Such a cute little town, full of colors. The shops open late (“alla daga” 10 or 11 till 18) and they all seem to close promptly at 6, just in time to allow the restaurants to serve the dinner crowds. And, everyone was definitely out in the evenings, despite the drizzle.

The tiny streets seem strange to host such large cars. SUVs and mid-large size cars (with studded snow tires) were everywhere.

Overlooking the harbor. Brrr. Very windy.

The colors were everywhere, giving such personality to the city.

4 Wheeling Adventure

We had no idea what we were getting into when our deal included an excursion.

Unknowingly, we began what would become an 11 hour “jeep” tour.

Six of us (plus our guide) set off 4-wheeling to the base of the volcano where 70 MPH wind gusts pushed one of the young tourists into a 6-foot crater.

Then, the 4-wheel drive got us back thru streams and craters and we ended up next to huge waterfalls.

Yes, we did drive thru that stream!

It was so windy we couldn’t get too close to the waterfall without getting soaking wet…

Then, back into jeep (not really a jeep, but Toyota doesn’t sound as cool), and headed off to the black sand beach, where we sailed up and over and down the dunes.

Water was pretty chilly, especially when it gets the top of ones boots wet!

We stopped off at Anna’s (Anna was a famous dairy maid, who wrote cookbooks) Hotel/Lodge/Inn and had homemade lamb stew with a really hearty bread and crazy-good butter. What is with that butter? So good!

(The houses are made from tin or concrete. And the architecture is pretty plain. – Notice, there are no trees in Iceland.)

Then…wait! What? A Glacier? We’re going to CLIMB the glacier?

And in the pouring rain, we put on crampons and rain gear, and up the glacier we went.

And, what did I learn about climbing on glaciers?

I’m a chicken. I had no idea that my fear of heights would make me physically sick to my stomach. I can go up and down, but do not make me walk on a 3 foot path between two crevasses.

I’m so glad I had no idea what we were getting into. It was a long day, but well worth it! Definitely a must-do on the Iceland adenture.

The last day, we ended the journey with a trip to the Blue Lagoon – a steamy hot bath full of minerals. <as an aside: the scent of the lagoon kinda made me want some deviled eggs!>

The blue lagoon: It’s the life– sipping on a Gull beer whist floating around the warm creamy water. So funny to see Greg step in the pockets of the mineral goo that lined the edges of the lagoon.

Our 4 days/3 nights in Iceland adventure was well-worth it!

The locals are proud of their culture and are very welcoming to visitors.

Eveyone spoke English and currency was easy to convert. Prices were really not too bad either!

Here’s a recap of our highly recommended places:

Άsgeir Άsgeirsson Best tour guide
pRIR FRAKKAR Locals restaurant—Puffin, Horse, Whale on menu; plus anything “gratin” awesome
Gamla VinHushiD Apple Cake w/ Caramel and icecream
Vid Tjornina Quaint, old charm with chef’s special. Get the Skyr
Blue Lagoon Nice. Go on the way to the airport
Hilton Very nice accomodations

Here’s to more adventures!


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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in 2013

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